The Progressive: Interfaith Activists Push for Reproductive Justice

The Progressive: Interfaith Activists Push for Reproductive Justice

Interfaith Activists Push for Reproductive Justice, May 2019

Rightwing religious groups have been mobilizing followers behind a new wave of abortion restriction bills crashing over state capitols in the North and South, crafted to ultimately overturn the 1973 Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade ruling legalizing abortion nationwide.

But the battle isn’t simply between religious anti-abortion advocates and a secular vanguard fighting to preserve abortion rights. Less visible, but no less vocal, are religiously grounded defenders of strong and expansive reproductive rights, as well as the rights of individual women—not the state—to make choices regarding the control of their own bodies…

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The Progressive: ‘It’s a Movement’

The Progressive: ‘It’s a Movement’

‘It’s a Movement’: The Poor People’s Campaign heads into the future with a robust agenda, April 2019

Protesters join hands as part of the 1968 Poor People’s March on Washington. Their work continues through a new generation of activists across the country, including in Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Poor People’s Campaign.

Wisconsin is one of more than thirty states where the Poor People’s Campaign has launched a chapter and seems to be on fertile ground. The state’s recent history of retrenched rightwing political muscle has made it a laboratory for policies that enrich corporate power and private wealth, escalating economic inequality and racial segregation. But those same forces have given rise to progressive popular resistance throughout the state, including last fall’s ouster of Republican Governor Scott Walker by Democrat Tony Evers.

Now the Wisconsin Poor People’s campaign is making a renewed effort to increase its visibility. And like the national campaign, it is focused on the long game, aiming for changes that will take years to achieve…

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‘The Center of Gravity is in the Local Work’: Liz Theoharis on the Poor People’s Campaign, May 2019

Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis rallies with fellow members of the Poor People’s Campaign in 2018. Photo by Steve Pavey.

An ordained Presbyterian minister and veteran social justice organizer, the Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis co-chairs the Poor People’s Campaign with the Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II. Founded half a century ago by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the campaign was revived in late 2017 by Barber and Theoharis to empower the nation’s poor and marginalized people, and help build coalitions to address their challenges.

In May and June of 2018, the campaign undertook “Forty Days of Moral Action” around the country to draw attention to poverty, militarism, injustice, worker rights, and other social injustices. In June of this year, the campaign will focus on Washington, D.C., gathering for a People’s Moral Action Congress…

 

The Progressive: Faith Versus Trump, Reverend Responds to ‘Call of the Moment’

The Progressive: Faith Versus Trump, Reverend Responds to ‘Call of the Moment’

Faith Versus Trump, January 2019

Photo of Michael Rothbaum from his Facebook page.

Rightwing Christians have found much to like in the Trump Administration’s advancement of their priorities, including opposing Planned Parenthood, restricting abortion, marginalizing gay rights and women’s rights, and favoring private school vouchers. And they were heartened by his appointment of conservative judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

But for other faith groups, Trump’s priorities have stirred alarm, and protest. Michael Rothbaum, a rabbi at a suburban Boston synagogue, guesses that his congregation of 280 families mostly vote Democratic. But few of them were what he calls “rally-goers” prior to Trump’s election. Then, he adds quietly, “absolutely, something shifted.”


William J. Barber II Responds to the ‘Call of the Moment’, January 2018

Photo courtesy of Repairers of the Breach.

The Reverend William Barber II has emerged as a leading voice in the struggle for rights for African Americans, the poor, and other marginalized people in the United States, especially in the South. In his former role as president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, Barber led the “Moral Mondays” movement that enlisted a broad coalition of people engaged in human rights struggles.

Barber now heads Repairers of the Breach, a multifaith, nonpartisan nonprofit group also based in North Carolina, and cochairs along with the Reverend Liz Theoharis a new Poor People’s Campaign—a “re-engagement” of the movement of the same name that the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. took up in 1967.

In late December, Barber spoke by phone with The Progressive about his involvements and how faith-based activists and organizations are responding to President Donald Trump.

The Progressive: Refusing to Make a Monster out of God

The Progressive: Refusing to Make a Monster out of God

Refusing to Make a Monster out of God: Shane Claiborne on the Death Penalty, April 2017

Photo by Brian Yap.

Writer and activist Shane Claiborne spoke with The Progressive about why his faith calls him to the movement to abolish the death penalty—a movement that crosses religious and secular lines and even brings together the families of crime victims and those condemned to die.

Isthmus: Theologian Brian McLaren in Madison

Isthmus: Theologian Brian McLaren in Madison

Theologian Brian McLaren takes on the future of Christianity at First Baptist Church of Madison, March 2014

Photo by Daniel Tseng.

What is the future of Christianity? Few have thought harder about that question than Brian McLaren — a former Evangelical pastor and a prolific and popular author on the topic of Christianity’s past, present and future . . .